Despite living in an area of such international significance for wildlife, most people around Ruaha are very unaware of any reasons for conservation, the potential economic and ecological value of wildlife, and of the particular importance of the Ruaha landscape. To help increase awareness, we run educational film nights in local villages, remote households and schools several times a month. As most remote areas do not have power, we take along a generator, laptop, projector and speaker, and set up a white sheet to project images on the side of a hut. It is not very fancy, but people are thrilled to have the opportunity to see films and learn about wildlife, so these events are extremely popular and people walk in from miles around.
During these film nights, we show a Powerpoint presentation to raise awareness about what exactly the Ruaha Carnivore Project is doing, show images of local wildlife from the camera-trapping, and show a selection of wildlife films. We are also collaborating with WCS Tanzania to show some of their educational films on vultures, and with Wildlife Connection to help them raise awareness as well. These films and images generate animated discussions about wildlife, what we are doing in Ruaha and why, and greatly raise awareness of conservation issues in this landscape.
So far over 30,000 people have attended our film nights, but there is still huge interest so we plan to continue and expand this work. People particularly love the amazing imagery of shows like the Planet Earth and Africa (both from the BBC), Disney’s African Cats or National Geographic’s The Last Lions. David Attenborough is as popular in remote Tanzania as he is in the rest of the world! However, most of the films we have – especially the blockbuster wildlife ones – are in English, which severely limits their impacts on these local people, who are the real ones who will decide if African wildlife has a promising future. We are very keen to work with partners to see if we could get some of those (or similar) films translated into local languages, as it would have an immense positive impact in terms of local support for conservation. We are also keen to develop a film in local languages about the Ruaha Carnivore Project, as we think it would be a great way of communicating our work and engaging even more local people in what we do. If you want to know more about our work, or have any suggestions about how you could help, please get in touch with us through firstname.lastname@example.org